Vall de Núria
La Vall de Núria (Catalan pronunciation: [ɫə ˈβaʎ də ˈnuɾiə], "The Valley of Núria") is a south-opening valley coming down from the crest of the Pyrenees within the municipality of Queralbs, province of Girona, community of Catalonia, Spain. The floor of the valley lies about 2000 metres above sea level, and is accessible from the south via a rack railway (the Vall de Núria Rack Railway) or by foot, and from France to the north by footpaths. There are no roads to access the valley. The place is historically notable for the 1931 drafting of the first Catalan Statute of Autonomy, in the Sanctuary of the Virgin of Núria.
The Virgin of Núria
According to tradition, Saint Giles (Catalan: Sant Gil) arrived in the valley in approximately 700 AD and lived there for four years. He crafted an image of the Virgin Mary and later hid it in a cave when forced to flee from a Roman persecution against Christians. Along with the image of the Virgin, he left a pot used for cooking, a cross, and a bell for calling shepherds to meals.
Still according to tradition, a pilgrim named Amadéu began searching for the image in 1072, after having a prophetic dream. He then built a small chapel for pilgrims, and found the image seven years later, next to the pot, the cross, and the bell, whereupon he brought the objects to the chapel to be venerated.
The image which is venerated at present has been dated to have been made during the twelfth or thirteenth century. It is a wooden Romanesque carving. The primitive-looking polychrome statue still retains its painting intact.
The shepherds regarded this image of the Blessed Virgin as a patron saint of fertility. The canonical consecration of Our Lady of Núria was in 1965. Her feast day is September 8. The name Núria is now a very popular girl's name in Catalonia.
The resort offers a total of 10 alpine ski pistes (three green, three blue, two red and two black ones), as well as a special slope for sleighs, totalling seven kilometres of marked pistes. In the Summer of 2006, 18 new snow cannons were installed, adding up to a total of 73 cannons.
As for ski lifts, there is one quad chair lift going from the resort base at 1,964 m, up to its highest point, at 2,252 m.; two platter lifts serving the beginners' area; and one gondola lift (called "telecabina") granting access to the Pic de l'Àliga youth hostel.
- http://www.enciclopedia.cat/fitxa_v2.jsp?NDCHEC=0046642 Vall de Núria in L'Enciclopèdia, online reference work based on La Gran Enciclopèdia Catalana (in Catalan)
- http://pirineos.com/article/articleview/1063/3/97/ Historia del Valle de Nuria in Pirineos.com (in Spanish)
- http://pirineos.com/article/articleview/1063/4/ El Santuario de Nuria in Pirineos.com (in Spanish)